Increasing your salad intake may keep your brain young
It’s becoming more common these days for people to turn to improved nutrition as a way to better their health, rather than relying on simply taking handfuls of pills as they age. A healthier diet can increase your energy as well as help you lose weight, and now scientists say that it could slow the rate of brain aging.
According to a recent study published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, eating roughly one serving per day of green, leafy vegetables may improve your memory and thinking skills.
The study included 960 people with an average age of 81 who did not have dementia and were observed for an average of 4.7 years. The participants had their thinking and memory skills tested on a yearly basis, and filled out a questionnaire about how often they ate certain foods. The questionnaire asked them how many servings they ate per day of three vegetables: spinach, kale, and collards.
The participants’ scores on the thinking and memory tests declined over time at a rate of 0.08 standardized units per year. However, the rate of decline for those who ate the most leafy greens was slower by 0.05 standardized units per years compared to those who ate the least. This difference is equivalent to being 11 years younger in age.
These results still hold true when factors such as smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, education level, and amount of physical and cognitive activity are taken into account. However, the authors do note that this study does not prove that eating leafy green vegetables slows brain aging, it only shows that there is an association. Nevertheless, unless you’re deathly allergic to spinach, kale, or collards, it won’t hurt to have more of those leafy greens in your diet.